5 Defensive Driving Tips for Preventing Auto Accidents in Colorado
December 7, 2016 | Safety Information
Can you guess which Colorado counties had the highest number of fatal accidents so far in 2016? According to Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), they are:
- Adams: 56 fatalities
- Denver: 52 fatalities
- Weld: 52 fatalities
- Jefferson: 46 fatalities
While these counties are not all bordering one another, they are all near the Denver metro area. Fatal auto accidents in Colorado occur statewide, but the stresses of city driving can also bring out aggressive tendencies in drivers. More freeways, roads, people, and vehicles mean more chances of collision between cars.
A few defensive driving techniques can mean the difference between colliding with a neighboring car or preventing an accident altogether.
- Relax behind the wheel. Aggressive driving causes 66 percent of traffic fatalities, according to the NHTSA. It also reported that 37 percent of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm. Emotions make minor issues escalate quickly, but keep calm when driving and you will navigate the roads much more safely.
- Maintain an even driving pace. Aggressively increasing your speed when a light turns green and slamming on the brakes when it turns red makes it more difficult to avoid collisions since your speed is changing drastically. Similarly, weaving in and out of lanes frequently increases your chances of side-swiping another driver.
- Always have an escape plan. Since it’s impossible to predict what other drivers will do, keeping an escape plan in the back of your mind will help you safely navigate issues that arise, whether it’s an accident, car break down, sliding on ice, or another car running a red light. Giving proper following distance (at least three to four seconds) and keeping an eye on the shoulder are both solid escape plans in case danger arises.
- See the whole picture. Instead of just looking a few feet in front of the car, look at the entire picture of your driving landscape, including your peripherals and far down the road. Anticipating an accident or a mistake by another driver will give you enough reaction time to swerve or brake and avoid a collision.
- Set yourself up for safe driving. Wearing your seat belt, not driving under the influence or while tired, safely maintaining your vehicle, giving yourself plenty of travel time, obeying speed limits, and putting away the cell phone or other distractions are all effective steps for helping you focus on the road and anticipate a potential accident before it happens. These may sound like the basics of good driving, but it’s easy to slip into bad habits while tired or distracted.
Protecting yourself on the road through attentive, defensive driving can mean the difference between a totaled car and higher insurance rates and a spotless record with no accidents.
For some people, learning about defensive driving isn’t optional. Drivers in the state of Colorado who commit too many infractions and are ticketed may need to attend defensive driving courses. Some auto insurance companies offer discounted rates for those who complete a course.
If you are in an auto accident in Colorado, reach out the experts at Bachus & Schanker, LLC, Colorado’s injury law firm dedicated to helping injured individuals and families.